A long-term study of "abstinence only sex education" shows that it doesn't work. The Washington Post reports:
A long-awaited national study has concluded that abstinence-only sex education, a cornerstone of the Bush administration's social agenda, does not keep teenagers from having sex. Neither does it increase or decrease the likelihood that if they do have sex, they will use a condom.
The Feds spend $176 million per year on the failed program. Harry Wilson, a top official in the Department of Health and Human Services, told the Post that $176 million:
"is not that much money when it comes to offering an alternative to the other message."
Not that much money? After all, the money is really just symbolic and needn't actually accomplish anything, just so long as it garners votes from religious conservatives.
Anyway, the good news is that teen pregnancies are down largely due to greater use of contraception.
By the way, a new report, Trends in Premarital Sex in the United States, 1954-2003, finds that most Americans have been enjoying premarital sex for a long time. To wit:
Contrary to the public perception that premarital sex is much more common now than in the past, the study shows that even among women who were born in the 1940s, nearly nine in 10 had sex before marriage.
The new study uses data from several rounds of the federal National Survey of Family Growth to examine sexual behavior before marriage, and how it has changed over time. According to the analysis, by age 44, 99% of respondents had had sex, and 95% had done so before marriage. Even among those who abstained from sex until age 20 or older, 81% had had premarital sex by age 44.
Whole WaPo article on abstinence-only findings here.